Speaking of teenage daughters, exactly ten years before One Day at a Time, my parents were insisting that my brother and I watch Petticoat Junction (1963-1970) every week. By the time we got our own portable black-and-white tv for our attic bedroom, it was off the air. Not that it would have mattered -- there were no other choices except a romantic comedy and the last half of NBC Tuesday Night at the Movies.
The hillbilly comedies that filled CBS's schedule in the 1960s -- The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Gomer Pyle, The Andy Griffith Show -- were low on both beefcake and bonding, but Petticoat Junction was by far the most arid of the lot. What do you expect from a program named after ladies' undergarments, set in a town called Hooterville? With a opening shot features the three teenage daughters of widowed Kate Bradly swimming in the town's water tower? With a theme song pushing the pulchritude as the main reason for visiting: "Lots of curves, you bet -- even more when you get to the Junction"?
Steve immediately took to Kate's youngest daughter, Billie Jo -- you can find hardly a single screencap without them holding hands or kissing -- and the heteroromance was off and running.
the Hudson Brothers.
But even Petticoat Junction offered two glimmers of interest to the assiduous eye of a beefcake and bonding-starved preteen.
1. In spite of the lack of nudity, Steve could fill out a fraternity sweater, and all eyes were drawn to the tightness of his slacks. He was tall, lanky, and handsome, with expressive eyes and big hands, a cool fantasy boyfriend.